Over the past year life for us all has changed dramatically. So much so that for me, I feel completely different. Before the lockdown, life was a constant whirlwind. I was always on the go and so consumed in life and getting the kids to school in time to get my unreliable train to work. I never had time to think too much about how I perceive life.
Being isolated during lockdown accelerated my journey. I was already on the path but last year I had time to make decisions about how I live and who is in my life. I found that before March of last year I was wound up and tired, stuck in a routine. Days went by and I was stressed but pre-occupied.
I never thought of anxiety until the children were in school during the height of the pandemic. When once I could take or leave the news, I was suddenly glued to the screen watching intently for updates. The previous month I had been very ill, I had no clue it could have been COVID. I had been signed off work, and when I returned for those four days before schools were closed I noticed that I was starting to experience breathlessness, headaches and sleepless nights. When I did sleep I started having vivid dreams which became exhausting, which made me anxious and upset. Then Boris said those magic words, that schools were to close, and I felt an unbelievable surge of relief.
Although I was somewhat relieved, I now feel that anxiety is with me. The fast, laboured breathing and confusion washes over me sometimes for no apparent reason. I find that the slightest hint of confrontation sends me into an attack. Initially I was confused why it was still happening – I had been working at home, feeling the pressure from the company to hit targets and build the business – which quite frankly is not easy in this climate.
One day when an attack occurred, I sat on my sofa, and received a call from a friend and suddenly felt a wave of heat come over me, my breathing became laboured and I became extremely confused. I remember repeating “what is this, why does this keep happening to me?”. My concerned friend on the WhatsApp call talked to me calmly and told me to stay focused and breathe. After some persuasion I listened and my breathing and thoughts stabilised.
Why is this happening - sudden attacks of fear and confusion? I sat and analysed what could have caused me to feel this way.
My children; the most important people in my life, my light and joy. Sitting watching the news waiting for Boris to decide our futures is (to this day) a huge trigger for my anxiety. I was at home working, yet I felt my children were being sent out into danger and this bothered me terribly. I have sat and measured it, and my stress levels definitely went through the roof when the kids prepared to go back to school. I think what brings this feeling on is the fact that I have no control, I can’t protect them, which is my sole purpose on this planet.
Anyone who knows me knows that like so many mothers, I am a tiger mum. I will do anything it takes to protect my children. With the current situation, I feel so out of control. My concerns are also increased when thinking about their social interactions and education. Both of my children excel in school, they have managed to do very well through the last turbulent year. The social aspect worried me even more.
They are not yet teenagers and I yearn for them to have a normal, happy childhood. Being separated from friends has made this difficult at times. They seem fine, but I put pressure on myself to ensure they’re happy.
The other triggers I noticed were friendships – I have touched on this before in other posts but I found that individuals came to me a lot with their issues. But when and who do I truly speak to about mine? Where do I go with my deep feelings? Does anyone care? #empathstruggles.
The vaccine – this maybe controversial but I am talking solely from my perspective. These are my feelings, which cause me fear and concern.
I am not an anti-vaxxer. I absolutely believe in vaccinations. My children have had every one. Every year I am first in line at the GP for my flu jab, as for me it is a life saver. With the new vaccines I won’t sugar coat it - I am worried. This is a surreal situation, overnight our lives changed. Living in the UK has been strange and the government have created such confusion as to what we can and can’t do. Late lockdowns, you name it.
I admit - I am scared. As a vulnerable person I worry about how I may feel or the lasting effects of this vaccine. I’m still doing my research, my first thought is to not have it right now, but the alternative is also not desirable. Will we be able to travel? Will we be able to have our freedom back? See our families again if we don’t have it? This is a big decision. Chances are I will have it, but the lack of control again creates unrest in me.
My anxiety is due to the fact that I can’t prevent or avoid certain situations. I have become extremely introverted. My world is my home, but I have no control when the government says the schools are open. I can’t wrap my kids up in cotton wool and protect them from the outside world. This desire I have to protect those around me is heightened and the fact I can’t makes me crazy.